Ally McCoist still hopeful of adding to squad

RANGERS manager Ally McCoist remains hopeful of completing one more signing in time for next week's Champions League opener against Malmo as he steps up his pursuit of a variety of transfer targets.

Having secured the 1.5 million capture of Lee Wallace from Hearts ahead of Thursday night's 11pm deadline to register his squad for Tuesday's third qualifying round, first leg fixture against the Swedish champions at Ibrox, McCoist is keen to add the 'wild card' signing which is allowed by 11pm the night before the match by Uefa regulations.

Alejandro Bedoya, the 24-year-old USA international winger who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Rangers in January, could be the player concerned if Rangers can reach an agreement with his Swedish club Orebro to allow him to move now.

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"The logistics would tell you that is a possibility," said McCoist. "I'm very hopeful we will get something done by the deadline on Monday. If it is Alejandro, that would be fantastic. I'd love to take him at the moment but it is out of our hands. It is down to Orebro."

The arrival of Wallace, set to make his debut against former club Hearts as Rangers begin their defence of the SPL title at Ibrox today, was a source of both delight and relief for McCoist during a close season which has seen a series of other moves for new players fail or falter.

Declaring himself "100 per cent happy" with the backing he has received in the transfer market from the club's new owner and chairman Craig Whyte, McCoist will continue his efforts to strengthen his squad.

He confirmed his interest in a trio of central defenders linked with Rangers in the past week. Dorin Goian, a 30-year-old Romanian international currently with Palermo, appears to be near the top of McCoist's wish-list. He is also looking at Anderlecht's 28-year-old Hungarian international Roland Juhasz and the 31-year-old Nigerian international Rabiu Afolabi who is a free agent. "We are hopefully going to progress things with Goian," said McCoist. "We have not put a firm bid in for him yet but hopefully we can take that a stage further. There is a bit of work to do before any deals can be done, but there are four or five players in the pot bubbling over at the moment. We will pushing forward on several fronts."

Carlos Cuellar, still considering a return to Rangers after a bid of 2 million was accepted by Aston Villa last week, remains a firm target for McCoist who is also likely to reinforce his interest in St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson after having an initial 150,000 offer contemptuously dismissed by the Perth club's chairman Geoff Brown on Thursday.

"The club have spoken to Carlos' agent again but there is no immediate panic on that one," said McCoist. "Carlos is recovering from injury and can't play for four or five weeks anyway. We are keen to get him but other things are far more important at this stage. The bid for Murray Davidson has been rejected and it would be unfair of me to speak any more about that until the club has been back in touch with Geoff Brown or Derek McInnes. That's where we are on that one."

McCoist seemed unperturbed by Rangers' failure to bring Kenny Miller back to the club, the Scotland striker moving to Cardiff City instead after Bursaspor booted out a 400,000 offer from the Scottish champions.

"I don't think it would have made any sense for Rangers to pay more for Kenny than we received for him in January," said McCoist.

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McCoist also defended the fee paid to Hearts for Wallace, Rangers having started the bidding at just 300,000 last month. "We couldn't win on that one," he said. "If we hadn't got Lee, everyone would have accused us of being skinflints. Now we've paid the money for him, people say it's over the odds.

"There is nothing Lee can do about that but we are just delighted to have him."